BAHRAIN GP – QUALIFYING
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Position: 4th, 1:29.545 (Practice 3 – P7 1:32.809)
“It’s been a good and positive day today. We didn’t expect much to change from China to here but now we’re a lot closer to pole than we were a week ago so we’ll take that. To be on the second row and to get ahead of a Ferrari is a good surprise. We kind of thought if we put everything together then there might be a chance of a second row and we got it. We’re learning and are getting a bit more out of the car as well which is great to see. If tomorrow Mercedes and Ferrari run into some tyre degradation maybe we can have a bit of a go. But the aim now is to try and maintain this gap in the race and stay within half a second or second each lap and to replicate our pace during qualifying in the long runs.”
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Position: 6th, 1:29.687 (Practice 3 – P1 1:32.194)
“In general the whole qualifying was very positive and we improved with every session up until the last run where I just got hurt in the preparation. Felipe (Massa) squeezed in front and I had to stay in first gear to keep a gap to him so the tyres cooled down which hurt my first sector. If you lose straight away two tenths then it’s not ideal and you try to catch up but it’s very hard if the tyres are not in the window. The pace was there today but just not on the last run when it counted, but sometimes that happens if you have some traffic. We have made many small improvements and tried to optimise everything which seemed to work and we understand the car more and more with every run that we do. We are definitely closer, I think Mercedes is still too fast for us but the Ferrari doesn’t look too far ahead. Our car seems to work much better on this track so hopefully we will get a clean start with no incidents and then see what we can do in the race. It was definitely possible to be a bit further forward but last time I started a bit further behind and ended on the podium so anything is possible.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “In a qualifying session that was always going to get faster and faster, Daniel did an excellent job in extracting every ounce of performance there was in the car, and to have picked off one of the Ferraris and got on to the second row is the absolute maximum we could have hoped for here. Max made great progress through the sessions, unfortunately on his final lap he didn’t have the best preparation that he would have liked, having a little bit of traffic on his out lap. Nevertheless he lines up on the third row of the grid and can still have a strong race from there. The gap to the leaders has consistently come down through the first three events of the season and to have got on to the second row is a positive step forward for the team.”
Luck of the Draw
Everyone likes to say there’s no such thing as luck in F1 and that outcomes are the result of deep research, intense analysis and careful strategising. As our new quiz reveals that’s a complete load of old rubbish. We present our team personnel with a set of 50 numbered questions the order of which shifts with each race, they choose 10 and have to answer them, no matter what. Tough, easy, personal and just plain weird, what they get is down to the luck of the draw. This race’s lucky dipper is Dallas native and Max’s Race Engineer – Car Performance, Blake Hinsey.
- What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Hard to say. If I’m not enjoying a book I don’t have much patience. I’ll get half way through and throw it away. However, one of my favourite books is called Skunk Works [by Ben R Rich & Leo Janos], about the development of Lockheed Martin’s special projects and ultimately the SR71 Blackbird.
- What’s the thing that most annoys you about Formula One?
There aren’t enough races in America yet. I was looking forward to the New Jersey race but that didn’t happen. Something in California would be awesome. Long Beach, Laguna Seca… that would be excellent.
- What’s your favourite food?
It’s got to be Japanese food and specifically sushi. Not sure why. I guess because it’s clean, fresh and simple.
- Property aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?
A bicycle – a Giant Propel Advanced SL2. It was £3,500. It’s not a ridiculous amount I guess, but I don’t buy too many expensive things. I enjoy cycling a lot. It’s a bit of sanity. Is it for the fitness or the toys? It’s both really. It’s the feelgood factor you get from doing physical activity combined with really cool stuff – data analysis, power meters, Strava, the Garmins. With what I do at work it’s kind of hard to switch off, so with cycling I can kind of switch off… but not really.
- Have you ever seen a ghost?
No, I have not. I consider myself lucky in that respect. Do I believe in them? Unsure. I’m not completely willing to disregard it. Seeing is believing I guess.
- What’s the last number dialled on your phone?
The last phone call I deliberately made was several days ago to my brother Luke to wish him a happy birthday. I should probably do that more. I don’t talk to him enough.
- What’s been your luckiest moment?
Going trackside racing when I was at Force India. It was an interesting circumstance, not in a bad way, but it was one of those things where I thought it was going to be a long time before I got to go racing. From the point at which I told my then boss I wanted to do that, it was only two months, as someone else moved on. Similarly, getting a job in the UK and getting a job in Formula One was pretty lucky. I would love to say it was hard work and that I did a really good job and all that, but a lot of it was right time, right place.
- Do you collect anything?
I guess you could say I do – it’s cameras, mostly old, medium format cameras. A Leica M6, a couple of old medium format Mamiyas, an old Pentax 35mm. I try to use them as much as possible but with work the opportunities are limited. It’s just the idea of something mechanical, a gadget.
- If you could go back in time to any era, when and where would it be?
I think I would go back to those days of designing cool aircraft, developing the U2 spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird. It was a time when engineering was on the edge of possibility, when there was so much money and resource and there were no limits, regulations or red tape. The attitude was ‘this has to be done, everybody says it’s impossible, you’ve got six months to do it’. That would be amazing. Now everything is so refined, everything is about details. There aren’t many massive revolutions to make happen. Boundaries seem so far away. Then again, maybe in 20 years people will be saying ‘look at all that low-hanging fruit you had, all you had to do was reach out and pick it’.
- What should everyone try at least once in their life?
Everybody should ride a bicycle at least once – a proper one. Just to go somewhere, anywhere. Living in Oxford has been pretty cool having a bike; you see so many different things every time you get on the bike and head out of the city. You find all sorts of cool little places that you didn’t know existed. Anyone who does that will find out a lot more about where they live.